Living the Gospel – September 23, 2018

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“A Line of Awesomeness”

As we read today’s gospel of Mark 9:30-37 we see that the disciples were becoming self-absorbed and arguing as to which of them was the greatest. When Jesus confronts them about their discussion, he turns their argument inside out by telling them that if they really want to want to be great, then they have to become servant to all. Jesus then illustrates this point by scooping up a small child- and tenderly holding that child in the crook of His arms, He tells his disciples that whoever receives one child like this in His name, receives Christ Himself and God His Father. One of the highest priorities in Jesus’ teaching is that even as you mature, you still need to keep a childlike heart, a heart that is willing to learn and a heart that is willing to serve others.

In mid-August of this year, Major League Baseball’s play of the week happened in Detroit during a Tuesday night game. A routine foul ball at the Detroit Tigers game became anything but foul when 10-year-old Travis Blackwell caught it and then decided to give the ball to an even younger fan, 7-year-old Michael Ogden. “I said, ‘Can I give this ball to that kid down there because it’s his birthday today,'” Travis said. He went on to say that a couple of years ago, he went to a game and got a ball, and the experience made his day. That’s why he wanted to share the love. “I was kind of bummed, Michael Ogden said, when I saw him catch a ball; but then he just came down and gave it to me… I think it was awesome.”

Well, the boys weren’t quite done spreading happiness, for soon it was Michael’s turn.

“A ball came over the net and this guy gave it to me,” Michael said. “Then this little girl was sitting behind us, and I gave the ball to her, and it was her first baseball she has ever had.”

Travis called it a “line of awesomeness,” a line of awesomeness that became a home run in a lesson on serving and caring about the feelings of another.

The greatest people in the world are those who are small enough to serve others; sometimes it means paying particular attention to those who everyone else forgets. For us it might mean befriending that kid at school nobody else likes. Maybe we could serve a lonely person by just calling to chat. We might look through the Ministry sign-up sheet and select an area to volunteer in service of our church and community. If we want to be big before God, we must find a way to serve — especially to give to those who cannot give back. After all, the greatest Person in the universe once became small enough to learn what it means to be a human being. He became small enough to serve sinners like you and me by dying for us. He wants each and every one of us to keep a child-like heart; to trust in Him, to follow Him and become part of the “Line of Awesomeness.”

Sylvia Bates